I Have a Degree…Now, How do I Find a Job?

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA

Professional Certified Coach | Certified Career Management Coach

Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Last weekend, as I enjoyed a latte on the patio of a coffee shop in a small college town, three students sat directly behind me discussing their plight—graduating soon and no clue about how to use with their newly acquired degree to find a position in their chosen career field.

These students candidly described their fears and concerns. One had been asked for a résumé and panicked at the request because he had no idea how to go about writing a persuasive document. Another empathized with the dilemma of navigating a job search, lamenting how unprepared she was to talk to people about hiring her.

Graduation season is upon us once again and the conversation I overhead is going on all across the country. The reality of finishing college and entering the work force has landed solidly in the midst of preparation for final exams, planning for graduation ceremonies and celebrations, and moving out of the dorms. For many graduates, this transition is overwhelming.

Here’s my recommendation for organizing your job search:

  1. Identify target positions and target employers. This first step will drive all of the others; everything that follows is a campaign to market your qualifications for two or three specific jobs. Research job postings to see which positions and employers appeal to you and match your skills and interests.

Job search is no longer a numbers game where you send as many résumés as you can and hope                 that a few hit the mark. It’s now a targeted marketing campaign.

  1. Identify the keywords in your targeted field. Your résumé and cover letter will need to capture the interest of a human being, only after it gets past a screening software tool called an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). This program searches for certain words in your résumé and places you as a candidate only if your language matches that of the position qualifications.

Review jobs posted on CareerBuilder or Indeed.com (or job boards specific to your field) and                     capture the words frequently used to describe the preferred qualifications and the duties of the                 job.

  1. Develop your résumé as a marketing communication. It doesn’t work to send a generic résumé to lots of posted jobs and wait to be noticed. It’s your job to convince the ATS and the hiring manager that you are the best qualified candidate for the position. Your message must tell your prospective employer what you’ve done in the past and how you can add value to their company in the future.

It’s challenging to design a winning résumé under these circumstances. Successful résumés land interview invitations so if your attempts aren’t getting you in to meet face-to-face with the hiring manager your communication tool isn’t working for you.

We’ll provide a free critique of your current résumé and tell you how we would improve it to land more interviews. Please visit the CareerFromHere.com contact page to forward your résumé.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

 

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